At Left of Center Art Gallery, a small Saturday-afternoon crowd weaves together a loom tapestry using different colors to represent issues dominating headlines and rippling through individual communities on a more personal level, a visual American story as diverse and as similar as those writing it.
In another room, Vanissa W. Chan’s documentary on police brutality and community activism alternates with a Steven F. Dansky documentary on pioneers of the LGBTQ movement discussing Stonewall and bringing viewers back to a time when gays were openly battered by police.
The show, Seeking Justice Through Art, is the kind of exhibit Vicki Richardson’s Left of Center is known for—human rights, diversity and equality taking center stage in a creative space for communities to come together to reflect, celebrate or advocate change.
Artists and guests cluster around Nigerian-born Dayo Adelaja’s cubist painting, “Persecuting Women in 2015 U.S.A.,” aware of the argument that fighting for equality somehow means privilege in other’s eyes and that minorities being shot, oppressed or living guilty until proven innocent aligns with gender expectations and limitations large and small.
Denise Duarte’s “Nude Female,” a large sculpture of a brain, with stuffed nylons forming the contours of the grey matter, asserts that “if women are to be objectified let it be for their mind’s capacity.” Marylou Parker’s drawing of a young woman is surrounded by scientific iconography, responding to a time in college when a visiting professor told her she was “too attractive to be a physics major” and then “too smart to be an art major.”
The tapestry on the wall, “Reframing the Fabric of Society,” evolves into a rich pattern of color representing immigration, gender equality, homelessness, profiling, racial equality and LGBTQ equality. Some use one color. Others use several, braiding them and suggesting that if one group is oppressed then we all are. No matter how independently we move through our lives and sequester ourselves in different neighborhoods and social circles, we’re entwined.
Duarte, director of development at Left of Center, calls it a visual map of social justices that enables a safe form of declaration, “a tactile method of expression.”
It unites the powerful group show, which like other exhibits at Left of Center, comes with an inspiring message of love, community and hope.
Seeking Justice Through Art Through April 9; Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Left of Center, 2207 W. Gowan Road, North Las Vegas, 702-647-7378.